Monday, 16 November 2015
Sheffield First Hand : At The Interchanges (A)
But First, Some History
It used to be known as Pond Street Bus Station; and there were ponds there (top centre). The Railway had not arrived in the mid 1800s so there was no Midland Station and associated works to cover up the River Sheaf.
But Pond Street, Pond Hill and Harmer Lane remain in 2015, their shape unaltered. From quite early on, buses used to leave from Pond Street and Little Pond Street ...
... with them new-fangled trams tidying up the junction with Flat Street.
Next, he site was cleared of sub-standard properties and, in 1936, a very rudimentary bus station took their place.
Later (in 1956) a proper covered station was built.
The coggage in the foreground shows the clearing of the site for the Sheffield College development, later Sheffield Hallam University. As part of the Arundel Gate construction (a completely new "inner ring road" that wasn't) a multi-screen cinema, night club and under-cover car park filled the cleared slope. These "modern facilities" replaced a collection of "courts", predecessors of small blocks of maisonettes but nothing more than slums.
The station had a refurb in the later 60s when a footbridge crossed Pond Street linking the renamed Central Bus Station with a small (but exciting?) shopping gallery.
The gallery was a failure and the bridge did not survive yet another rebuild in the early 90s.
Apologies if any of this sequence is wildly wrong but fbb was, by now, working on the Isle of Wight and visits to Sheffield were occasional for weddings and funerals!
But privatisation and competition took its toll. Many services were removed from the Interchange to grab every available likely passenger by circling the city centre's unfathomable one way systems.
As No 3 son expounded on fbb's recent visit, "Why is this bus station empty? I've never experienced a bus station without buses and without people." The decline meant that a significant chunk of the new station, a section alongside and parallel to Pond Hill (seen upper left in this shot) ...
... was soon demolished to make way for alternative development.
Services using the high quality facility are as follows:-
A number of city services that happen to terminate or pass in one direction
Some longer distance services to Mansfield, Chesterfield, Matlock, Doncaster, Barnsley, Bakewell, Buxton and similar.
National Express and similar
Other facilities proliferated in a desire to help the public with quality infromation.
The huge Meadowhell shopping centre gained an "Interchange" ...
... followed by a very posh and pointy greenhouse on Arundel Gate.
A small "interchange" was opened at Hillsborough ...
... very cramped and not served by all routes.
The ultimate in non-interchange facilities arrived at Manor Top. Expectant passengers might expect something useful but all you get is a couple of shelters in a layby served by a minority of routes.
You would have to be desperate to plan an interchange here; there are huge distances to trek to get to many supposedly "connecting" services.
Finally an extra enquiry office at Cambridge Street near Moorhead did not last very long.
At first glance, a visitor might be forgiven for thinking that bus information in Sheffield was superb; you are never far from an Interchange.
... to be continued ...
Next Interchange blog : Tuesday 17th November